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Showing posts from June, 2013

Expressionist Gothic

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Alligator Summer: A southern gothic atrocity in three acts
by Dylan Lamb
from Squeaky Bicycle Productions
directed by Brandi Varnell
set design by Kathryn Lieber
lighting design by Christopher D’Angelo
with:
Nicholas Yenson
Mark A. Keeton
Annalisa Loeffler
Dylan Lamb
Jackie Krim
Nathan Brisby
Erin E. McGuff

Squeaky Bicycle Productions has been presenting a superb production of Dylan Lamb’s excellent new play Alligator Summer. It’s a rare amalgam of first rate work from all artists involved.

Alligator Summer is subtitled A southern gothic atrocity in three acts; it’s indeed in the vein epitomized by Albee’s The Ballad of the Sad Café. And it’s firmly in the expressionist tradition. The situation concerns two families holed up in an attic because the alligators have overrun the streets.

Here in the garret, Atticus Julep is the Julep pater familias. His wife has been in bed for 13 years – that is, since the birth of their son, Antietam (also in residence). They’re joined mid-play by the older son, Tob…

Toy Theater

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10th International Toy Theater Festival
produced by Great Small Works, off-off-Broadway

Deborah Kaufman
Toy theater (also called boy’s theater) was a miniature theater form that began in the early 19th century. Proscenium, sets and puppets were printed on paper sheets, assembled at home, and manipulated with wires during performance in the parlor. The whole thing mimicked ordinary theater of the day.

Great Small Works is a company that recently produced the 10th International Toy Theater Festival, a collection of works from many places that bring the form into the 21st century using the conventions of 19th century toy theatre to various degrees. I managed to see a few of the many pieces.

The Way of the Mask (Animal Cracker Conspiracy) offers us some lovely small toy theater puppets on a nice toy theater stage, perhaps one-and-a-half feet square. The stage picture is projected overhead – hardly an element of traditional toy theatre, but necessary now that the form has left the parlor.

a li…

From the Ukraine

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The Yara arts Group is a resident company at the fabled off-off-Broadway production company La MaMa. Their mission is to work with traditional-form artists from Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Siberia. Their latest piece (June 2013) is Fire. Water. Night., directed by Virlana Tkacz, is based on movement, dance and song. The loose narrative concerns a forest nymph who falls in love with a man. There are 22 physical performers, ten of them musicians. Without set or props, the bodies represent trees and crops they also represent people, two types of nymphs, et al. The work moves from lobby to stage to lobby to stage as the seasons change. The “stage” is sometimes the usual open space and sometimes the raised platforms usually reserved for the audience. Creative use of space here. The primary source for the text is a 1911 Ukrainian verse drama called Forest Song, but there are many others.The company’s mission notwithstanding, the script uses North American material (Native and otherwise) a…

Un text très français

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The Balcony
by Jean Genetproduced by The Horizon Theatre Rep, OOB
directed by Rafael de Musso
Scene design: Joseph Kremer
Costume design: Amanda Shafran
with:
Maria Wolf
Rafael de Mussa
Carlo Giuliano
Jon Okabayashi



For those who haven’t run across Jean Genet’s French play The Balcony in a college drama class: it’s set in a brothel. Its opening presents a series of scenes between clients and employees. They’re highly eroticized charades of social power: a gentleman masquarades a priest, a woman a judge, another man a general. The hired professionals play along to reinforce the socio-sexual role-playing, and there’s always a dominant/submissive element of S&M. There’s a stress on the iconic costumes the clientele don. Meanwhile, there’s a revolution going on in the street. The bordello is aligned with monarchy. When the ancien régime – and its authority figures – fall, the aforesaid johns put on their play clothes and, in the script’s climactic scene, pose for a photo to perpetuate t…